Werner Sollors earned the Dr. phil. degree at the Freie Universitat Berlin in 1975 and taught at Berlin, at Columbia University, and at the Universita degli Studi di Venezia. He joined the Harvard faculty in 1983 and holds the Henry B. and Anne M. Cabot Chair as Professor of English and Professor of African American Studies. He served as chair of the Department of Afro-American Studies from 1984-87 and from 1988-90.
His major publications include Beyond Ethnicity: Consent and Descent in American Literature and Culture (1986), Neither Black Nor White Yet Both: Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature (1997), and a book-length contribution on "Ethnic Modernism" volume 6 of Sacvan Bercovitch's Cambridge History of American Literature (2003).
He published essays on Olaudah Equiano, Mark Twain, W. E. B. Du Bois, Charles Chesnutt, Mary Antin, Jean Toomer, Zora Neale Hurston, Henry Roth, Richard Wright, Ed Bullins, Adrienne Kennedy, Amiri Baraka, and Charles Johnson. Among his edited books are, most recently, Frank J. Webb: Fiction, Essays, Poetry (2005), An Anthology of Interracial Literature: Black-White Contacts in the Old World and the New (2004), and Creole Echoes: The Francophone Poetry of Nineteenth-Century Louisiana (2004). Other edited works include Blacks at Harvard: A Documentary History of African-American Experience at Harvard and Radcliffe (co-ed. 1993), The Return of Thematic Criticism (1993), Theories of Ethnicity: A Classical Reader (1996), The Black Columbiad: Defining Moments in African American Literature and Culture (co-ed. 1996), Interracialism: Black-White Intermarriage in American History, Literature, and Law (2000), The Multilingual Anthology of American Literature (co-ed. 2000), The Norton Critical Edition of the Interesting Life of Olaudah Equiano (2000), The Adrienne Kennedy Reader (2002), the Library of America edition of Charles Chesnutt's Novels, Stories, and Essays (2002), and An Anthology of Interracial Literature: Black-White Contacts in the Old World and the New (2003).
He is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (1981) and of the Constance Rourke award for the best essay in American Quarterly in 1990. In 2000 he was elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; he is also a corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and of the Bayerische Amerika-Akademie.
Werner Sollors is listed in Kurschners Deutscher Gelehrtenkalender, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in America, Who's Who in Education, Who's Who in American Scholarship, Who's Who Among America's Teachers, Who's Who in the East, Contemporary Authors, Dictionary of Literary Biography 246, Dictionary of International Biography, Directory of American Scholars, 2000 Outstanding Scholars of the 21st Century.